Maths at Saint Mary’s Catholic Primary Academy


The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions


At Saint Mary’s Primary Catholic Academy we use a mastery scheme to deliver our maths curriculum so that all children’s needs are catered for through a whole class teaching approach. Through this we aim to allow children to gain a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts that can then be applied in the real world, in different contexts. Children build up their own skills and knowledge, which then allows them to solve problems and create their own, explaining and deepening their own understanding. At Saint Mary’s we build the mathematical foundations for children to become confident mathematicians. The mastery scheme of work we follow, allows teachers to use it as a support for their own subject knowledge, as teaching points and to help address any misconceptions. Our daily Maths lessons follow a similar pattern beginning with a simple revisit to prior learning in the form of Fish, Dog, Elephant questions and then either an exploratory question or main teaching point and tasks to develop fluency, reasoning and problem solving.

We do not label our children. We have high expectations of all children and strongly believe that all children are equally able in mathematics.  Some may take longer to grasp concepts and may need careful scaffolding or extra time/support (guided groups, same day catch-up, additional homework, pre-teaching, intervention group, specific parental support).





The mastery scheme we currently use is a mixture of The White Rose Scheme of Learning and Power Maths (a DfE recommended scheme) which embeds mastery throughout each element of the lesson.

 Each lesson is mapped to the National Curriculum objectives.

  • Revisiting    At the beginning of each lesson, the children will be given fish, dog , elephant questions. Fish questions will be very recent learning 1 – 2 days; dog questions will be learning from a week- 2 weeks ago; elephant questions will be from much longer ago. Misconceptions will be dealt with immediately as answers and methods are discussed.
  • Whole class input will include questions  based around variation theory that will be used for AFL by teacher and TA and will help children decide which task and support/ scaffold they may need.
  • Develop reasoning and deep understanding (contexts and representations of mathematics) – problems are often set in real life contexts – carefully chosen practical resources and pictorial representations are used to explore concepts.  These pictorial representations will appear in books as children show their understanding, rather than answers to a series of calculations.  The use of practical resources, pictorial representations and recording takes place in most- if not every lesson (the CPA approach).
  • Structuring – the teacher will organise the findings of the exploration, compare/contrast strategies and guide toward the most efficient strategy (or the one being learnt that day).
  • Step by step approach – journey through the mathematics (these steps may appear small, especially at the beginning of a lesson.
  • Questions to challenge thinking – teachers use questioning throughout every lesson to check understanding – a variety of questions are used, but you will hear the same ones being repeated: How do you know? Can you prove it? Are you sure? Can you represent it another way? What’s the value? What’s the same/different about? Can you explain that? What does your partner think?
  • Discussion and feedback – pupils have opportunities to talk to their partners and explain/clarify their thinking.
  • Recording the learning – not just pages of similar calculations, the bronze, silver and gold tasks show progression through deeper learning – Maths books are used across the school. In books you will see a range of activities including those requiring written explanations of the children’s understanding.
  • Practising – not drill and practice but practice characterised by variation – years 1-6 use White Rose Hub small step planning, Power Maths, NCETM and Nrich resources to provide children with carefully chosen questions and are essential in assessing how the children have understood the concept taught.  You will also see another level of differentiation within these books as some children rapidly grasp the concepts and therefore move onto questions or activities where their understanding can be developed to a greater depth.  Some children will work very hard in the lesson to complete the tasks independently, some children will need additional support to complete the tasks and some children will sometimes be provided with different tasks and questions appropriate to their understanding of a concept.
  • Fluid intervention – in mathematics new learning is built upon previous understanding, so in order for learning to progress and to keep the class together pupils need to be supported to keep up and areas of difficulty must be dealt with as and when they occur.  Ideally this would happen on the same day during the afternoons, but this is not always possible so it may be the following morning but will be before new learning is introduced.
  • Marking –Current marking policy is that learning is ticked and dojos are given as rewards. Live marking is used to provide instant feedback so that children can address and correct errors/ misconceptions. A comment is made if/when a teacher feels this is necessary to move learning forward.  Gap tasks or challenges may appear for individual children in their books, but usually gaps are addressed through same day intervention and therefore will not always be recorded in books. The most valuable feedback is given during a lesson. Very often the children’s next steps are addressed in the subsequent lessons and therefore will not appear as questions for some children to answer after a lesson has taken place.
  • SEND pupils – may be supported by additional adults, different resources, differentiated activities and over learning, if needed, so additional questions may be seen in books. They will also complete additional activities outside of the mathematics lesson.
  • Children in EYFS explore mathematical concepts through active exploration and their everyday play based learning and also follows the Reception White Rose Scheme of Learning.
  • Children are taught key concepts and application of number using a hands on practical approach.  EYFS practitioners provide opportunities for children to manipulate a variety of objects which supports their understanding of quantity and number.  The CPA approach is used when teaching children key mathematical skills.  Practitioners allow children time for exploration and the use of concrete objects helps to support children's mathematical understanding.  Maths in the early years provides children with a solid foundation that will enable them to develop skills as they progress through their schooling and ensures children are ready for the Nation Curriculum.
  • Children’s books are monitored regularly and children are given the opportunities to apply their learning in different subjects in school, such as weighing ingredients in  DT lesson on baking and data and statistics in science lessons.



Times Tables

Here at Saint Mary’s, we promote the love of learning times tables through using the counting stick, games, chants and an online platform called, Times Tables Rock Stars. The counting stick is a useful tool to promote confidence and flexibility in children’s counting skills and helps to secure the relationships between certain multiplication facts, providing them with strategies for the calculation. This results in an increased number sense through reasoning and an ability to calculate easily what they don’t know by heart.  When it comes to times tables, speed AND accuracy are important – the more facts your child remembers, the easier it is for them to complete more complex calculations.

Times Tables Rockstars is a challenging, interactive website which allows children to learn their tables through repetition, competition and simulates the Y4 multiplication check in a feature called ‘sound check’. Teachers can track each child’s , each class’ and their school’s progress on line. Times tables are recognised as essential to access many mathematical concepts and knowledge will be assessed at the end of Y4, from September 2019, by a National test.






Children at Saint Mary’s are tracked and monitored regularly to assess progress. Throughout each lesson formative assessment takes place and feedback is given through marking and tasks to ensure that the objectives are met. The teaching of Maths is also monitored through book trawls, learning walks and lesson drop ins. Year 2 and Year 6 use previous SATs testing documents to assess children and Year 1, 3, 4 and 5 use Rising stars to assess progress termly. The data collated after these assessments, and through assessment for learning used daily, are used to inform planning and also provide underperforming pupils with additional support and higher attaining pupils with stretch and challenge. As misconceptions are addressed quickly, children are given opportunities to practise concepts and can articulate their understanding. From this, children can then apply their knowledge and understanding to a variety of contexts and in different ways.


As a result of our Maths teaching at Saint Mary’s you will see:

  • Children talking enthusiastically about maths
  • Engaged children who are all challenged.
  • Children using a CPA approach to mathematics
  • Children demonstrate a quick recall of facts and procedures.
  • The chance to develop the ability to recognise relationships and make connections in maths lessons.
  • Lessons that use a variety of resources to support learning.
  • Children with a ‘can do attitude’
  • Children that show a high level of pride in the presentation and understanding of the work
  • Learning that is tracked and monitored to ensure all children make good progress.
  • Intervention to help children keep up rather than catch up.


View document year_4/maths_at_saint_marys.pdf


Part of our recovery curriculum includes the DfE guidance on the prerequisites for each year group. These will be used by each teacher to assess starting points for the children in their class.

DfE Maths Guidance KS1 &2


St Mary's Visual Calculation Policy Basic Edition